10 Lessons Learnt from my “It’s All About You!” Roadshow

In 2016 I decided to travel the world on my “It’s All About You!” Roadshow. I started in Chicago, USA then went to Belgium then Eurofinance, Austria before crossing the Atlantic to the USA AFP Treasury Conference in sunny Florida then back to the UK just in time for Christmas.

The Roadshow was my way of sharing my treasury recruitment expertise and explaining what to do to get ahead in your treasury career in the new age of Social Media whether you are a;

  • candidate seeking a new role and wanting to know how best to market yourself
  • client wanting to hire a new team member and how you can attract the best people
  • treasury professional who simply wants to understand what is happening in the market and how best to prepare for the future

I spoke about;

Building Effective Teams – How to ensure treasury teams are aligned with the CFO, CEO and management’s expectations? Do you have the right people in the team?

Personal Branding and what Treasury Professionals Need to Know – I discussed why building your personal brand is important and gave tangible strategies to help treasury professionals develop their finance careers

You Have a LinkedIn Profile: So, What? – Being on LinkedIn is just the start, your skills and experience don’t speak for themselves. No matter how detailed your profile and deep your work experience, it is down to you to be the chief promoter of your career. Key to this success is building an effective online personal brand that captures the attention of your audience and presents a powerful message to those seeking your expertise.

I explained how to take your profile to the next level and provided key tips and takeaways on how to stay ahead in the battle of the brands.

What Did I Learn from My International Roadshow?

Here are my Top Ten Tips;

  1. Prepare, Prepare then Prepare Some More!

When I ran my first 2-hour workshop session we prepared worksheets, handouts, notes and fully mapped out a shadow schedule of activity for the session. Initially I was quite nervous about presenting to a room full of Senior Treasurers but because of the depth of information that Laura and I had brainstormed and through the detailed presentation we prepared, it meant that I could relax and feel comfortable guiding the group between topics ensuring the session was free flowing and covered all relevant topics. Without this level of preparation, I would have drowned!

  1. Be Open!

When the head of the Belgian Treasurers Association Karen dropped the bombshell question “can you deliver the keynote speech?”

I said after a few scary deep breaths – “Yes”.

Was I prepared for it? No!

Could I be prepared for it in 17 hours’ time? Just!

Did a scary overnight fully revised speech session ensue? You better believe it!

Did I then get to promote the business to a captive audience of 150 Treasury professionals by trying to educate them to the world of treasury recruitment and social media?

Yes, and for that I thank the Belgian Association of Treasurers – ATEB.

Here’s a link to my The ‘Accidental’ Keynote Speaker speech see what you think!

LINK HERE accidental_keynote_speaker/

The most important lesson I learned here is if you’re open to all things, great things can happen. 

  1. Video Yourself

This is a great trick of the trade and one which I have found extremely useful. If you are anything like me, you will be your own worst critic.  You will focus on every “erm”, every stutter or slip, every time you missed the opportunity to say the line that you had rehearsed so well the night before and you will imagine every audience member shaking their head in disgust BUT let me tell you, they are not. They are there to enjoy your speech, to hear what you have to teach them, to learn from your specialist knowledge, they want you to succeed.

Of course, a few people may critique afterwards but we’re all human after all and we can’t appeal to 100% of the people 100% of the time. The key is to use video as your own teaching aid you can look back review your sessions to assess and improve your style for next time. It works believe me! 

  1. Body Language is Key

Think of giving a presentation much like doing a job interview, just with a lot more interviewers!

When you speak have an open posture, move around, your audience will warm to you, they start to smile at your jokes, your delivery improves, your presence grows.

I saw a brilliant speech on TED Talks by Amy Cuddy entitled “Your body language shapes who you are”, it’s well worth a watch.

Click HERE to go to Amy Cuddy’s TED Talks Speech.

Watch her video, follow her advice and blow the roof off!

  1. Do Not Simply Read Your Slides Out

I reviewed my own speeches after delivering each of them and thought about some of the other speeches I’d seen whilst travelling around. I realised not only has my speaking style improved but I read from my slides less and less.


Because reading a speech to an audience who can already see the words in front of them is insanely BORING….

Remember your audience have all your slides in their information / pack or in the conference app.  If you just read them out you are guaranteed to give the most boring speech everrrrrr…

I simply try to use my slide as “Anchoring Points” that provide me with ways to kick off stories or lead into sections of my speech that provide information relevant to my topic.

This is what I tried to do at Eurofinance – Vienna when I talked about “Improving Your LinkedIn Profile” click here for more info 

LINK HERE improve-your-linkedin-profile/

  1. Use More Images, Less Words

By following this rule of thumb when preparing your presentation or speech it will seriously help with point number 5. As a speaker, you then use your own words to give the pictures both context and explain their meaning. When I must, I do use text in my slides but this is when I am providing the audience with tips and tricks which they can use when they get home after the conference.

  1. Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse

I don’t mean rehearse just once or twice, no I mean rehearse 10, 12, 15, times! Yep that’s what I did for my Chicago speech – to the point that I even started dreaming about it!

I had originally planned for a 30-minute session with 10 minutes Q&A but then discovered that I was given an hour long solo session, yikes!

I did some research about how comedians and actors managed to keep their set fresh and how amazing they are at improvising and adapting.  The truth is they don’t!

From my research, I discovered they rehearse their acts, be they comic geniuses or acting legends, repeatedly.  Once they know their sets literally off by heart, then they can go off script or deal with hecklers when they need to.

Fortunately, my crowd were a friendly bunch but in the lead-up to all my speeches I would rehearse up to 15 times for each session!

I would read aloud from start to finish whilst timing myself.

Have a coffee and repeat… and repeat…

I worked out which bits didn’t flow and where were the funny bits that I felt did work. It was only after rehearsal number 10 or 11 that I felt I could start to improvise and ad-lib a bit. This ensured that on the day, I had the confidence to really let the speech flow and enable me to engage with the audience in a relaxed and fun way. I certainly would not have had the confidence to do this without all those rehearsals!

  1. Lighten Up – A Speech Is a Live Interaction

A speech should be an interaction NOT verbal diarrhoea!

Any audience wants to be educated and entertained. They don’t want to sit and listen to someone drone on without any value or interaction. Your audience needs to feel engaged and enlightened and a major way to achieve this is through participation. Ask your audience questions, get them to volunteer or put their hand up if they agree with whatever it is you’re asking their opinion on. I found that when I did this, I received much more positive feedback about my speech than before. Make the interaction relevant though, don’t do it for the sake of it as that could look forced or cheesy, it needs to come naturally and you need to be in the moment.

  1. Be a Story Teller

When I completed my first nerve-wracked speech in Chicago in 2014, I asked Marko Kling my straight-talking German friend from Hanse Orga how was it?

His one word reply “Good”.

“OK what can I improve upon?”

He walked off…

I thought that’s not a good sign but one of his colleagues explained “Mike don’t worry, he’s gone off for a deep think!”

A few moments later he returned and said “Mike tell more stories, you’re a funny guy, people like your stories”.


Now when I speak, I try and incorporate as many anecdotes, some horror and some success stories from my recruitment career, don’t worry I have a few in each category!

That brings me conveniently onto point 10 and probably the most important!

  1. Laughs!

In my speeches, I include some silly re-made photos that I have seen on LinkedIn.

I explain how much I detest personal statements on CV’s.

I talk about why my youngest daughter needs to clear up her room.

When I spoke at the USA Treasurers Conference in Florida in the Q&A session one of the Treasurer’s explained how horribly she had been treated by her local recruiter.

She asked me how she should deal with it. Here’s a bit more of the story and what I recommended she do!

Read My Article; Not All Recruiters are SCUM!

LINK HERE scummy-recruiters/

My view is that if I am coming to hear a recruiter speak for an hour, he better make me laugh otherwise I’m off!

So why wouldn’t my audience think the same way!

Anyway I hope these tips will help you when you are next presenting or maybe speaking. If you want to chat any of the points over on a one-to-one basis then give me a buzz or drop me an email I would love to hear from.

Quick Speaking / Presenting Checklist

  1. Prepare, Prepare then Prepare Some More!

  2. Be Open!

  3. Video Yourself

  4. Body Language is Key

  5. Do Not Simply Read Your Slides Out

  6. Use More Images, Less Words

  7. Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse

  8. Lighten Up – A Speech Is a Live Interaction

  9. Be a Story Teller

  10. Laughs!

Remember if there’s an article you want to see or a question you want answered you only have to ask I love to answer your questions!

Email me via Mike@TreasuryRecruitment.com

2018-02-13T09:57:45+00:00January 24th, 2017|